When was the last time you visited our nation's capital? You know, other than via political memes and watching Derryn Hinch fall asleep in Parliament during Question Time on YouTube... I went last month, and I promise you, it was as good as watching Tony eating a whole onion with the skin on, on national TV. YEP, IT WAS THAT GOOD.
Things have changed in the land of excessive roundabouts lately, with stylish additions popping up all over the place – from designer hotels to hidden bars and even a fashion festival. Sure, you can't buy fireworks anymore, but I promise there are real, actual, legitimate reasons to visit ol' Canbezzy for a weekend away.
Look! I even thought of eight of them:
1. QT Canberra
Thank our lucky social media stars. QT Hotels have extended their fashion, food and design tentacles to our nation's capital to deliver the most Instagrammable accom offering in Canberra. Obvy, your first stop should be here, to drop off your bags and grab a selfie with Obama (he's in the lobby). Plus, the entire theme of the hotel centres around the media scrum following politicians at all times – with 'photographers' positioned at every turn. It's like every fashion blogger's dream.
2. Lucky's Speakeasy
Hidden? Check. Stylish? Check. Excellent espresso martinis? Check! While you're at QT, wander around the right-hand side of the lobby and up the ramp, through a set of non-descript doors into the secret bar that is Lucky's Speakeasy. It's the kind of hotspot that even a Melburnian could love.
3. National Museum of Australia
The NMA has a great exhibition on at the moment, which brings the history of the world to one room in exactly 100 objects. I don't know about you, but I have trouble focusing for extended periods – which I can apparently blame on social media – so I feel like the curators of this exhibition really get me. Plus, the surrounds are so disturbingly Instagrammable you'll probably spend a whole day there taking OOTDs in front of architectural gorgeousness. Like I did. Like, after I saw the exhibition. Don't judge me.
FashFest is Canberra's answer to VAMFF, and while it's still taking baby steps, there's champs galore and a fresh doughnut stand in the lobby. Beat THAT every other fashion week ever. Grab the VIP package to sit #frow and see the hectic pace backstage.
5. Local designers
On that note, there are some very cool kids doing some very cool things in Canberra right now, thanks to the student designers popping fresh out tha kitchen at CIT. See my pics from FashFest to get an idea of the awesomeness emerging from locals like SZN (who is now based in Melbourne, thank you v much).
6. Instagrammable food
If there's one thing the pollies did right in Canberra, it was bringing some old fashioned moolah to town. And with it, came some pretty great foodie hotspots. We ate at Capitol Bar and Grill where they have racks on racks of drying meats, antipasti platters, excellent cocktails and wine, and some of the best steak in town. Yes pls.
7. To market, to market
If you're a market fiend like me, or you're just after a spot of al fresco shopping, head to the Old Bus Depot Markets. Seek out Vetro e Metallo for rustic metal jewellery made from found objects, or one of the many vintage stalls for a bit of old school retro.
8. National Gallery of Australia
What could be more #fashun than the Palace of Versailles in France? The NGA's exhibition, Versailles: Treasures from the Palace, brings all its golden treasures to Canberra from 9 December. Plus, you might even be able to fake that you're in Paris for the weekend with a Versailles selfie? Maybe? OK.
The writer was a guest of QT Canberra, NMA and FashFest. Follow Bianca's travel adventures (not including fake Versailles selfies... maybe) on Instagram at @_thetravellist.